Monday, August 19, 2013

finding the joy

I realize I've been whining about how hard it is to be a mother lately. But. There's also joy to be found. Tons and tons of joy through the tantrums and suffocating attachments. Between the pleas to eat more than a bite for dinner and the 7th potty trip to avoid picking up toys.

There's indescribable joy.

When she asks to "reach me" for a squeeze for no reason what so ever.

When she says "Yuh you Mama. SO much" after a particularly bad tantrum.

When she says orange instead of "Gor-range"

When she willingly eats her chicken.

When she stops what she's doing to dance.

When she tries to avoid eating dinner by singing the ABC song 18 times in a row.

When she has a fit of joy because daddy is home.

There is so so many moments of joy to be found. And getting out the hard parts out of my head has helped me to appreciate them.

She's SO smart. She's SO happy. (Most of the time)

She knows so much and she's only two. She can count backwards from 10, identify colors and shapes. She can make a tower that is 15 blocks tall. She can allllmost jump.  She can identify tons of things just by sound like a door opening or a shower running. She knows the different sounds that a violin, cello, guitar and banjo make.

She amazes me everyday.

Monday, August 12, 2013

You'll never be alone again

Motherhood has taught me that I will never be alone again.

She's everywhere all the time. She reaches her little fingers under the bathroom door. She's pulling a chair over to the sink as I wash the dishes. She's peeking out of the window as I walk to get the mail. She's my shadow. My mini me. My long lost detached appendage.

And some days it's charming. Lately, it's been... suffocating.

Motherhood is hard. I accept that. I knew I was in for sacrifice and less "me" time. I knew for a while I wouldn't be able to pee alone during the day because inquiring minds need to know where I am at all times.

But something has changed in that darling babe of mine in the past few weeks. A bit of her independence has slipped away. She now needs me, my attention, my presence more than ever. I can't figure out what's gotten her so attached but I sure do miss having a tiny bit of freedom in my days.

She needs to "help mommy" with everything. Somethings she can help with like putting away laundry, helping to pick up things that don't belong in the dirt pile after sweeping (like that red block I asked her to pick up 108 times before I started sweeping). She helps out by putting dirty clothes into the hampers and can bring her dirty dishes to the sink. But there are some things that used to be just mine. A few chores that lent me a moment during the day that she's suddenly adamant that she join me in doing. Like the dishes. It used to be 10 minutes I was able to just think and stare out the window as my hands washed dishes in the warm water. A little break in my afternoon. Now it's a battle of the wills as to who will get that ceramic bowl to the sink first. She broke my favorite mug "helping". I kind of needed a moment after that one. 

It's lovely to see her taking an interest in the daily chores but it's also made them that much harder to complete. And Jason will tell you, there have been many days he comes home to things half finished because someone's "help" was a little too much. She has the hardest time listening when she's told to not touch something. She's learned to avoid eye contact when she's being redirected because if she can't see me, she clearly can't hear me.

Should I be complaining about this? Probably not. Are there kids out there that won't ever want to help? You bet. Does it make the control freak in me feel any better? Nope. I would just like a moment to do something without hearing "mommy!? I help you!?" 1,287 times in five minutes. That's all. And I would like to stop feeling guilty for not loving every minute of my toddler wanting to help me. Being as independent as I am, I need to do things by myself during the day.

This point in motherhood has me struggling. The clinging. The constant need for my undivided attention. I make sure I play with her. I build forts and build with blocks. We bake together. I color with her. We go on walks. We chase each other around the house and have dance parties. She gets tons of my attention and it just doesn't seem like it's enough, It feels like I'M not enough. She needs all of me and more. And most days, I am SO grateful Jason walks through that door at 6pm because I am drained.

Motherhood is hard. And whoever thinks it isn't can go stick their head in the sand.

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Hampshire trip- Part 4

Have you read the other three posts about our trip? No? Well here they are! Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Enjoy!

Well, since we were home for a short time we also decided it was the perfect time to visit my Mema. She lives wayyyyy up north in Dalton (soon to be Lancaster) and she's only seen Noella once (for her first birthday) so naturally, we took advantage of her extra bedroom and had a little sleepover.

Goodness gracious was it marvelous to sit and chat with her! We went for walks around her little neighborhood. It brought back so many memories of taking off on a long walk with her as a little girl. We would go for hours and I'd be happy as a clam. Noella loved the adventure too but had to stop and splash in every single puddle we came across. She's such a funny little girl.

Do you see how independent that child is? Walking in the middle of the road, no hand to be held leading the way. She was in heaven. 

We also found lots of big rocks to climb on. And dandelions to blow. Or "fuzzies" as Noella called them. 

Noella really really loved her time with Mema. It was relaxing and fun. We went to a lovely park in Lancaster near the house she's renovating with friends. Mema got in on the fun too. It reminded me so much of my childhood and visiting Mema in Bridgewater, CT. There was an AWESOME wooden playground near her house there too. 

Noella of course had to try out every single swing in the park. She likes the swings much more than the slides. Just like her mama.

What I find amazing is Noella's ability to just fall into step with family she hasn't seen literally in a year. It's like there's no time lost for her. She took to Mema (or "gree-ma" as she called her) right away. 

Ir rained quite a bit of the 10 days we were in NH and the three days with Mema were no exception. The Miss was a little stir crazy. 

Mema's friends in Lancaster have a little grandson who wasn't around to play during our visit but Noella sure did make herself at home playing with his toys. We even got to borrow his bike. She was thrilled. 

We still need to work on the concept of her using her feet on the pedals but that will come in time I suppose.

Here's some random happy pictures from our time with Mema. 

Being up in the mountains was so refreshing. It reminded me why I love New England. The small towns and lush scenery, flowers and trees. It made me even more homesick knowing I'd soon return to Florida but after 10 days of being apart from my Mister and knowing he was miserable without us, I was happy to return. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Hampshire trip - Part 3

If you missed the memo, you can read parts 1 & 2 here and here

We visited my Madam down in Antrim NH too. Oh how I missed that woman!

We took family photos with her. She's always got a great smile. 

Noella really loved to play in her front yard. She picked flowers with my uncle Jim too. 

It amazes me that no matter how long we are away from family, Noella knows who they are almost instantly and settles right in. 

On Saturday my parents took us to the beach for a change of pace. It was fun but so so cold! 

There were tons of surfers out that day trying to catch the end of the waves from Andrea. 

It was a great day. Noella LOVED the beach and then asked to go almost every day afterwards. 

After a super busy week and a trip to the beach, we prepared to go visit Mema for a few days. That's my final post. Coming soon! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Hampshire Trip - Part 2

You can read Part 1 here.

After a quick lunch, we hit the road again towards Concord Hospital to visit my brother Philip.

Not gonna lie, I was beyond exhausted but I was excited to see him after a being apart for a year even if it was because he was in the hospital.

When I saw him for the first time, he kind of looked like death. Sorry Phil, but ya did. He was pale with an oxygen mask over his face and he couldn't speak more than a few sentences without getting winded.

He was in good spirits and at least was on the far side of the room by the window. He had a lovely view (which I totally forgot to snap a picture of...) 

We spent a lot of time going between my parent's house and the hospital that week to keep the poor boy sane. He was SO bored. And I totally don't blame him. At least the hospital offered Wi-Fi! 

Noella spent a lot of time in his lap, Giraffe tucked firmly in her mouth watching cartoons on Netflix. Noella's choice of cartoons did not please my brother but he stuck through it anyway for some cuddle time. It's good practice for when he and Jennie have babies. 

Slowly he was weaned off of the oxygen mask and was able to just use the cannula nose thingy. He hated it more than the mask because it dried out his nose. I don't know how he could stand having little plastic pieces sitting in his nostrils. No thank you! 

Because he was in the hospital for blood clots in his lungs and the genetic tests were negative, they really had no idea why he had the clots in his lungs so they focused on getting his clotting factor to normal levels. This meant he had to have blood drawn every four hours for the first four days of his hospital stay. Because he has the same lovely bruising genes I do, he looked like a heroin addict. Note the MASSIVE nasty bruises on his forearm. He also has the same "rolly" veins my mom and I do; Meaning that when they go in with the needle, his veins move around when the needle hits it initially. It's not easy to draw blood from people with rolly veins therefore there's a lot of time spent fishing for the vein and therefore there's a lot more bruising. 
All of the bruises changed from deep purple to blue, to a greenish color and finally yellow before he was sent home.

By the end of the week Noella was kind of over sitting with Philip to watch cartoons. Especially when she realized the hospital had "Elligators" (Elevators) which she asked to ride about a bazillion times each visit. This resulted in Gammy, Aunt Jennie and I taking turns taking her on walks around the visiting area lobby or up the elevators just because we couldn't take her asking any more. 

Luckily the whole week wasn't spent visiting the hospital. We also made it to a few lovely parks in the area. One with Gammy and another park with Aunt Jennie. She LOVED it. 

The Miss also hit another milestone on the trip. She learned how use the "big girl" swings. The whole time she was swinging all I could think was "When did she get big enough to use those!? Wasn't I like 11 when I first learned!? Surely she's too young." But nope. She's a big big girl now! 

Aunt Jennie was SO fun. She was nice enough to share her room with us during our stay. She made sure she had extra snacks when we went to the hospital and even ran the Miss to the potty a few times for me. She seriously kept me sane because that little darling babe of mine was up before 5am 6 out of 7 days that first week. Jennie, you are AWESOME and I can't thank you enough for your help that week. 

By Saturday we were going a little stir crazy so Gammy and Papa packed us up and we headed to the beach. But that's saved for Part 3. (This was a LONG 10 days so there's 4 parts. Stay tuned!)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Hampshire trip Part 1

On June 2nd at 5:45am the Miss and I were at the Orlando airport boarding a plane bound first to Philadelphia and finally to Manchester NH. We were on our way home.

My mom had called me on Saturday to let me know that my brother Philip had been admitted to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs and they weren't sure what caused them. I wasn't going to go initially because we didn't really have the extra money to throw around but after thinking about it for a while we decided to book a last minute ticket and we got an amazing price on it considering we bought it less than 10 hours from take off.

Noella did incredibly well on the airplane. She was beyond thrilled by the idea. I was super impressed with how happy she was for the first leg of our journey considering she was woken up at 4:30am to get to the airport for our 6am flight. I however, was exhausted as I had been awake since 7:30am Saturday...

Our lay over in Philly was not as much fun... She had decided she had already had enough for the day. I packed light and didn't check anything because we were flying U.S. Airways and it was $25 for the first bag (SO ridiculous but for two last minute tickets at less than $350, I was going to make it work). I had a small roll case, my backpack stuffed to bursting and the carseat to tote along with us to the next terminal. Oh and Noella's hand to hold. Otherwise she stopped at every single flippin window and walked over to anyone sitting on the benches near the main walkway. I was never so scared I'd lose her.

 I had never been to that airport before and it's HUGE! We had to make it to a totally different terminal in less than 45 minutes with a toddler and all of our stuff in tow. It was slow going but we were at least moving until she saw the moving sidewalks. She wanted to ride them and I didn't get the memo. I heard her mumbling something while we walked past them but I couldn't quite hear her and we needed to keep moving. I figured out the issue once we reached the end. That girl sat down and screamed in protest. I was almost in tears. No one else in that airport had children with them so clearly I was the insane one for dragging a child onto a plane that early but we muscled on with promise to ride the next one. And that we did. She stood on it and didn't move clogging the whole thing up and heaven forbid I try to move her along the 50ft walkway. She decided it was okay to walk the last 10 feet of it. Those people couldn't get around us fast enough.

When we finally made it to our next plane, I knew our seats were all the way in the last row so I shuffled Noella along the best I could and got settled. Well, I was apparently on the wrong side. The man who's side I was sitting in couldn't see that I was with Noella and started to yell at me about it from four seats up. I started to apologize and pack up to move across the aisle when the woman he was traveling with noticed Noella. By the time she decided we could stay I had already packed everything back up in preparation to move. I might have snapped at them a bit... I had had ENOUGH. I just wanted to get there and take a nap already. There might have also been tears and lots of avoiding eye contact. I made sure to apologize because the entire hour and a half flight I felt SO awful. He cut me off and mumbled a rushed "whatever, don't worry about it. I'm NEVER having kids so I don't know or care to know what you're dealing with." Cue more tears. I sat there floored for a moment making sure they had a large enough head start off the plane that I wasn't going to catch up with them again.

We made it to Manchester in once piece and found Gammy, Papa AND Aunt Jennie waiting for us. Noella was thrilled and SO excited for a break from the airplane. We grabbed a quick lunch and then it was off to see Uncle Phil in the hospital!

 After lunch she fell asleep in less than 10 minutes. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Stay tuned for Part 2!